Monthly Mystery Munchies #31: Pasta Primavera

Credit: NordWood Themes

Haaaaapy New Year! May 2018 be delicious! In the spirit of New Year, Ann from Grubbs n Critters, who is my dedicated, loyal Best Blogging Friend, chose “new beginnings” as this month’s recipe challenge, and challenge is quite apt. I was initially stumped, as it’s not as easy as it sounds, but then I did some research and learned that Chinese dumplings are a traditional dish served for the Chinese New Year. Fantastic, I thought, let’s do that. I mean, how hard can it be? Quite, as it turned out. I Googled and YouTubed and realised that dumplings were, in fact, tricky, but that did not deter. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on pork mince, bamboo shoots, and the rest of the ingredients. However, when it came time to make said dumplings, well, it was a comedy of errors. The Husband informed me that rice wine vinegar is not the same as Chinese rice wine. Oops. Also, I left spring onions off the list, and my dumpling dough was horrendous and inedible. It was so hard, it could have been used as a weapon. Blunt force trauma for dinner, anyone? No? We bailed on the idea and went out for burgers instead. It was good for a laugh. The Sister from Another Mister was lured here with the promise of pork dumplings, but instead she was tasked with the idea of finding another recipe. I felt it only right that she contribute, as I stared into my chicken burger and uttered some choice words. She decided that I should make pasta primavera, or spring pasta, and I jumped on the opportunity.

Now, it’s not spring in South Africa. It is summer. Sweltering, blazing summer, but all of these veggies are available here and I do love spring, and the idea of using these veggies that represent a new season. Plan B worked out well. Hallelujah! I really loved the idea of roasting a wide array of delicious, colourful vegetables, mixing them with butter and cream, topping with parmesan. It’s a creamy dish, but because it also uses a variety of vegetables, it’s bursting with flavour too. Yes!! I am so keen to see Ann’s dish this month, and I mean wow, she really picked a fun one this month. So without further ado, here’s my pasta primavera recipe, and please take a gander at Ann’s recipe. I have no doubt it’s a delicious treat!

Pasta Primavera

Supplies:

500g bowtie pasta (or any other kind)
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 baby marrows/zucchini, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
Freshly cracked black pepper
Pink salt (you can use normal salt, but Himalayan salt is my fave for health reasons)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 sliced garlic cloves
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
½ cup parmesan

Making it Happen:

Boil the pasta per package instructions until al dente.
Meanwhile, lay your vegetable in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the dried herbs over the veggies and roast in a preheated oven at 200°C for 10 – 15 minutes.

For the sauce:
Heat the butter in a pan on medium, and add the onion and garlic. Fry until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and fry for another minute. Pour in the stock and cream, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, along with the cherry tomatoes, then add the roasted veggies and toss well. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve!

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Crazy About… Kale and Spinach Soup

Kale soup 3

All hail kale! This recipe is the perfect fit for healthy and easy, and it happens to be winter, which is an excellent excuse for soup! Superfoods? Check. Budget-friendly? Check. Ridiculously low in calories? Check check. I’m so down for this! Instead of only using kale, I added spinach, onions, leeks, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, chickpeas, butter beans and chilli flakes. Sound good? It is! You can serve this yummy soup as a starter or main, for lunch or dinner. Here ya go…

Kale and Spinach Soup

  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 stems celery, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 leeks, sliced
200g baby kale, chopped
300g spinach, chopped
300g broccoli
1 x 410g whole peeled tomatoes
1 x 410g butter beans
1 x 410g chickpeas
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups vegetable stock
Greek yoghurt (optional)

Making It Happen:

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and fry the onion, celery, garlic and leeks for 5 minutes until soft.

Stir in the spinach and kale, season with salt and simmer for 2 minutes.

Pour in the vegetable stock, tomatoes, broccoli and chilli flakes. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the spinach and kale have thoroughly wilted and the broccoli is soft.

Blitz in a food processor or using a handheld blender. Return to the pot and add the beans and chickpeas, simmering for 1 minute.

Add lemon juice and stir well. Serve with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.

 

Creamy Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Broccoli

“Hmmm… yummy!” is what comes to mind when I make this meal. This is such a crowd pleaser – crispy bacon, creamy, cheesy veggies added to gnocchi and baked to golden brown perfection!  Yummers! Do it! Do it now!

Creamy Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Broccoli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Stuff dreams are made of:

  • Gnocchi ingredients200g bacon, chopped
  • 250g white button mushrooms, washed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 500g broccoli, broken into florets and cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes (parboiled but firm)
  • Gnocchi, cooked per package instructions

For the cheese sauce:

  • 50g butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon hot English mustard
  • 250ml cream
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon fine black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300g grated Cheddar cheese

Making it happen:

Gnocchi 1 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and add the garlic, bacon and mushrooms. Fry for five minutes until the mushrooms have browned (or let the bacon fry for a little longer to get it crispy). While this is cooking, parboil the broccoli.

 

 

Gnocchi 3 22. For the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the flour and mustard to make a roux paste. Slowly add the milk and cream while constantly stirring with a whisk. Once the sauce has thickened, add the salt and pepper and mix well. Take the pot off the heat and stir in half the cheese.

 

Gnocchi 4 23. Place the broccoli and gnocchi in a large ovenproof dish and add the mushrooms and bacon. Mix well. Pour the sauce over the veggies and again, mix well. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese on top and place the dish uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Take the dish out and allow it to stand for a few minutes before serving.

 

Gnocchi 5 2TADA!